We all face them - big decisions. The subject is so universal that we focus on it every March in our publications. I am always aware during this month of which big decisions I am facing personally and may be sharing with many others.
Many big decisions are behind me - the kind most of us have made or will make.
The first life decision for me was going to college. I never knew there was a decision to be made about whether or not to go, just where to go and how to pay for it. My next big decision I expected to make just once in a lifetime. As it turned out, however, I married twice and divorced once. All monumental decisions.
It was the divorce that taught me that the timing of a big decision is important. I was unwilling to forsake 'for better or for worse,' so it took time to recognize that divorce on a whim and divorce long overdo are two very different decisions.
I still struggle with making decisions in a timely manner. I am working on paying attention to negative information as well as positive. It's not a flaw, but a necessity. Choosing to give the benefit of the doubt is different than seeking any possible excuse for why someone did not, could not, would not intentionally take advantage of a person or a business or a situation. That can be an exhausting and fruitless process. We can refuse to recognize unpleasant facts, but we cannot change what is true. And good decisions weigh all information.
I've done the responsible things such as an estate plan and, a few years ago, refinanced both a personal and a commercial mortgage. Since interest rates have fallen and begun to go back up, I am certain many of us are wondering if we should refinance again. This is a decision where timeliness is significant. Rates may never be this low again, prompting us to consider other big decisions. Is it time to buy a bigger home, downsize, or live on the water? And buying a new vehicle involves so much more today than choosing a brand. Now we can drive an electric vehicle or a car slightly bigger than a toy!
Some decisions seem easy, like having children. Nothing after having them is easy, except loving them, and that makes everything else of little consequence.
Many decisions seem difficult. Most are not when we follow a few guidelines, received on good authority. Follow ten commandments, a four way test, and a golden rule. Pay attention to our gut. Go where our hearts lead us. We can find good people of character who will be honest and fair and are experts in their field. We can let them help us.
We can only control our own decisions, striving to become our best selves. Making decisions that are fair to all involved will lead us to others who are doing the same.
Jean Loxley-Barnard has been a writer all her life and studied both sociology and psychology at George Washington University where she earned a B.A. Her company, The Shopper, Inc., encompasses all the Loxley-Barnard family publications - The Shopper Magazines and Doctor to Doctor Magazine. She has been in the advertising, consulting and publishing business for 39 years.
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